The Department of Economic Opportunity made its annual economic indicators presentation this week in the House. Speaking before the House Economic Affairs Committee, DEO Executive Director Jesse Panuccio highlighted several indicators demonstrating Florida’s recent economic growth. According to DEO, the state’s unemployment rate is currently at 7%, down from 8.3% a year ago, and lower than California and New York. DEO also reported that, since January 2011, more than 365,000 private sector jobs have been created, with the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector reporting the highest number of new jobs in the last 12 months. Other positive signs of growth noted by DEO were rising housing starts – up 33% for the year – and lower foreclosure rates. Committee members expressed interest in working with the department in the coming session to identify – and amplify – elements that have helped the economy grow, while working to reduce impediments that have hindered the state’s economic recovery.